Water-Energy-Food nexus Gulf region

The deep interlinkages between the availability of water, energy, and food resources at a national level are known as the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus.

Example UAE

When analyzing food security, the GCC states have to look at fundamental trade-offs associated with different food security strategies.

For example, in the UAE a strategy of local food production relative to food importation is signficantly more water-intensive and energy-intensive, as local brackish aquifers require some level of desalination. Consequently, while local food production provides greater security and potential cost savings, energy and freshwater are major constraints that need to be addressed.

In the case of UAE water security, a strategy of renewable powered desalination relative to traditional co-generation is more expensive in the immediate term, though providing greater long-term security (and potentially lower costs) as it decouples water from natural gas.

As the UAE looks to expand its local food production capacity, it must address the associated constraints of food, water and energy. Strategies, technologies and initiatives taking place to tackle such constraints are underway.